Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Ceisteanna (406)

Gay Mitchell

Ceist:

536 Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if a decision has been made in the appeal of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 8; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3047/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Family)

The person concerned was in receipt of disability benefit from 31 July 2000. Payment was disallowed by a deciding officer from 3 October 2002 following an examination by a medical assessor who considered that she was capable of work. She appealed this decision to the social welfare appeals office and was found capable of work at a further medical examination on 11 November 2002.

Following an oral hearing on 13 March 2003 the appeals officer decided that the appellant was not incapable of work, within the meaning of the social welfare legislation, from 3 October 2002 and was not entitled to be paid disability benefit.

Following the disallowance of the appeal, further medical evidence was submitted. This was considered by the appeals officer on 15 July 2003 who decided that this evidence did not warrant the revision of the decision to disallow her appeal.

In late October 2003, further medical evidence was submitted on behalf of the appellant. This evidence was submitted to the chief medical adviser of the Department. He advised on re-examining the case that a revised decision was not warranted.

The person concerned was advised on 25 November 2003 that the appeals officer did not consider that there were any new facts or fresh evidence that would warrant a revision of his earlier decision to disallow her appeal.

Following representations made by the Deputy, arrangements were made to have the person concerned re-examined on 30 December 2003 by a medical assessor and she was found incapable of work from that date. She is entitled to disability benefit at the rate of €60.60 per week.

From the information available to the Department at this time, it would appear that the total amount of disability benefit payable to the household would be maximised if the person in question were to take up the option of receiving payment as a dependant on her spouse's existing disability benefit claim. The person concerned has been requested to advise the Department of her preferred option. As supplementary welfare allowance is already in payment at the maximum rate for the household in question, there would be no net increase in the household income.